Required Reading
Cap'n Flynn (deviantART)
Cap'n Flynn's Salty Sea Chest

The Unveiled Clepsydra

The Voyage to Ruin
Catholic Works
Aliens in This World
Apologize and Don't Be Sorry!
Cacciaguida
Catholic Ragemonkey
De Fidei Oboedientia
Doubleshot Thoughts
E-Pression (Zorak)
Flos Carmeli
For Keats' Sake!
Happy Catholic
John C. Wright's Journal
Old Oligarch's Painted Stoa
Pontifications
Scuffulans hirsutus
Shrine of the Holy Whapping
Summa Mamas, The
Troglodyte, The
The Stacks
Basia me, Catholica Sum
Conviviality
Corner, The
Fiat Lux!
I Am the Lizard Queen!
The Kawaii Menace
James Lileks
Wasted Words
Weirdsville, USA
Periodicals
8-Bit Theater
Get Fuzzy
Sluggy Freelance
xkcd: A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language
One Guy's Opinion
Dark Echo
Reference Materials
Catholic Culture: Liturgical Year
The Holy See
Invisible Children
New Advent
The Rosary Confraternity
Anglican Use Society
Book of Divine Worship
Pastoral Provision
Saint Mary The Virgin Catholic Church
Bartleby.com
Chambers' Book of Days
King's American Dispensatory
N.A.M.E.
The Writer's Den
Jim Butcher
Bruce Campbell
Susanna Clarke
Harlan Ellison
Stephen King
Lit Gothic
The Studio
flyin-eyeball.com
Jeff Matsuda
Furiae
Moby Dick, the Movie
The Conservatory
David Bowie
Dougie MacLean
Eisley
Gackt
Gaming FM
Great Big Sea
Kate Rusby
The Myriad
Nickel Creek
Portishead
The Recliners
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31 May 2004
Night Vision*
In anticipation of the upcoming Chronicles of Riddick, the previews of which have been very shiny and intriguing, we decided to rent Pitch Black this evening. Now, when the movie came out, it was badly marketed, and did not look interesting in the least. I also believe it came out roughly at the same time as some wretched sci-fi movie starring James Spader, and I suspect its obvious wretchedness overshadowed Pitch in my mind. Since that time, however, I'd heard from several sources that PB was actually a pretty good movie, and since Chronicles looked to be related (I now know it to be a direct sequel with some of the same cast and the same writers and director--very good sign, that), I felt it necessary to see PB first.

While I won't argue that Pitch Black is the height of sci-fi cinema, or perfect, it is nonetheless darned good. More than that, it's intriguing. It does fall into several trappings of the genre, but it handles all of them in more unique ways than most movies do. Not all the deaths are typical, bloody, and pointless. Some characters go out in rather unexpected ways--some even with a certain grace. The film techniques and cinematography were particularly interesting. The director is David Twohy, who also gave us The Arrival (which in the humble opinion of this here Wolf is one of the best sci-fi movies of recent years). Good alien/paranoia flick. In PB, Twohy makes use of some particularly stunning lighting for both halves of the film--the first being overwashed in light from three suns, the second highlighting only small specks of light in a world of utter darkness. Which, when it gets right down to it, seems to be a major theme of the movie. One doesn't generally expect to find in a "scads-of-alien-creatures-out-to-eat-small-band-o'-humans" flick an undercurrent of Faith. But it's there. There is always to be found a light in the darkness. Not crammed down our throats, but it is there in the film. And though we'll see how things play out in Chronicles, I suspect it's there to inspire the anti-hero of the film, Riddick.

So far, I have never wanted to see a Vin Diesel movie. I will easily grant he's got a really cool voice, but most of his movies, on the surface, at least, look like badly-done schlock. I may have to reconsider that, though. The man's good. Even more, the character is good. Pitch may have a bit going for it on its own, but without this beautifully written and portrayed character of Riddick, it wouldn't have worked at all. Riddick is a captured murderer who ends up being freed by a crash landing. He makes a tenuous peace with the other survivors, but never does he seem like deep down he's a good guy. And yet.... There is something there. A glimmer of hope perhaps, some sense of nobility. He may be fallen (very fallen, in fact), but he is not yet lost. He is not the villain of the story, and therefore we are drawn to him not for being so evil he's just cool (Magneto comes to mind), but because he's cool in spite of his past evils, as well as the very real possibility of current or future ones. He is, I think, a hard man trying to survive in an even harder universe, trying to find the path he was meant to walk. Or at the very least to stop running from everything. The story of Pitch Black gives Riddick a chance at freedom, and a chance (mayhap) at redemption. My guess is that it's up to Chronicles to show what he does with that chance.

*It is late after a very long day as I write this, so please to forgive any wandering the thoughts may take.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   12:47 AM
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30 May 2004
Forever Knight
Which, as it happens, is also the title of a very nifty (if low-budget) vampire/cop show from the early nineties. But that's not what we're here to discuss right now. Though perhaps we may need to attend to Nicholas Knight and LaCroix at a later date.

My goodness, but the knight in The Canterbury Tales does go on! I mean, I've been reading it for a couple weeks now and I've just reached the end of "The Knight's Tale." The man does not shut up! 'Course, if he didn't pause every other line to tell us what he isn't going to relate to us, then he might actually get to the point a lot quicker. Sigh.

'Tis a good tale, though. To sum up, Creon makes war against Theseus; Theseus wins; Theseus takes two survivors of the enemy army--Arcite and his cousin Palamon--prisoner, sans ransom; they languish in prison for awhile until one day, Palamon spies Emelye, sister of Theseus' wife, the former Amazon queen, Hippolyta; he's instantly smitten; Arcite says, "Whassup?" and spots her, too, whereupon he's smitten; much randomness happens; Arcite and Palamon get to have a noble duel after gathering an army of a hundred each (by Theseus' decree); gods get involved; Arcite wins, then dies stupidly; everyone weeps; Palamon gets to wed Emelye.

See? Simple. Didn't even take 2200 lines. Not that I mind longwindedness--heck, I thrive on it. But still, even drawing that story out, I think one could do it with less pausing than Sir Knight. And yet, I seem to recall some vague bit of Lit Crit from my university days talking about how much the tale wanders, and how little the Knight is able to stay on target. I believe there was some kind of point to it. Mayhap as simple as to say, "Well, he's not so great a storyteller, but at least it's a good and noble tale!" It's a great technique, I suppose, but reading Middle English is difficult enough. Reading a wandering Middle English is downright frustrating. My big problem was Arcite. His whole reasoning behind "loving" Emelye was that even though Palamon saw her first, he'd only seen her as a "vision" or some kind of divine dream. Since Arcite saw immediately that she was an actual woman, then his love was somehow more pure and deserving, and his cousin be damned! I really just wanted to smack the loser. But then, I've always rather sided with the true romantics who would lay down their lives for their lady-loves, as Palamon is ultimately willing to do. In appealing to Venus, he asks that he may have Emelye's hand, or be stricken down quickly by Arcite. Arcite merely prays to Mars for victory in the battle. Clearly it's not for love of a woman that he fights, but love of the almighty win.

Still, despite the dragginess, I am not discouraged. I shall read the whole of the Tales, and am certain to enjoy it. Of course, I might leave for a bit and come back to it. Must try to retain a touch of sanity, after all.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   11:24 PM
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Confirmation
As you may or may not know, I've recently come back into communion with the Catholic Church--this past Easter, in fact. However, though I'd been raised at least somewhat within the Church (badly catechised as I was) I yet managed to evade the whole Confirmation business, even if not intentionally. That has now been rectified.

Today, on Pentecost, I received the Sacrament of Confirmation, taking Saint David (patron saint of poets and Wales--or "whales," according to one website I found) as my Confirmation name. Such a lovely feeling--a sense of completion, really. And did I mention the nifty aroma of the Chrism? For a fan of incense and scented oils and candles, you just can't go wrong with a Confirmation at an Anglican Use parish. Everyone should have such a home as St. Mary's. And a home it is, indeed, for I am finally, and completely, home.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   7:21 PM
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The Absentee Wolf
Apologies for the radio silence this last week. I decided to take a week off from blogging (as well as keeping the blogwatching and commenting to a minimum) in order to be a good little pup at work and actually get some things done. It's truly amazing what one can accomplish with a commitment like that. It's just so hard to escape the Slack sometimes. But now I've finally gotten ahead at work, and it's a good thing, too, since our temp has jumped ship. With luck I can now dash off the occasional post and keep things moderately sane and orderly at work. And as it is now the weekend (with a day off tomorrow!) I can post much. So, let the flurry begin!
Jelly Pinched Wolf   6:48 PM
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21 May 2004
Disgraceful
We received in the mail yesterday a flyer for this summer's Dallas Shakespeare Festival. They're performing As You Like It and (get this) The Comedy of Errers. Notice anything wrong with that? They managed to spell "error" correctly on the back in their schedule, but in a great, bold, glaring font on the front: "Errers." How? I realise no one proofreads anymore, but this is Shakespeare, dang it! The Bard almost demands that you pay attention to your grammar, usage, and spelling. Fie on them!

Okay, I realise, having seen a couple of these productions now, that the Dallas festival isn't exactly high-rent. Those I've seen have actually been pretty abysmal (last year's offering of Taming of the Shrew was so wretched it sent my wife and I home halfway through so we could watch 10 Things I Hate About You, which is a far superiour rendition than the dreck we'd just tried to sit through). I should expect this sort of thing from them. And of course people make mistakes all the time--were it made in the schedule section, I could probably even forgive it. Probably.

Sigh. My ranting can change nothing, I guess. The English language is getting sloppier every day, and I doubt many who receive this mailing will even notice the error. My, but it's depressing.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   8:18 AM
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20 May 2004
Nice opinion piece by Rod Dreher in the Dallas Morning News:

Bishops ignore their burning house

(requires a free registration with the DMN, if you're not already registered)

Mayhap someday there won't be quite the gap between the teachings of the Church, and what is actually conveyed to the faithful. For this, we can pray.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   8:47 AM
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19 May 2004
Confetti Time!
Today, as it happens, is the second anniversary of this here little blog. Pretty amazing that I've been babbling for this long. There've been a lot of changes (and a lot fewer rants) since the beginning, but I think it finally feels like home.

Anyway, here's hoping there's enough going on upstairs to keep this interesting for another two. A toast, then: "To love, and happiness, forever!" (And for those who don't know me, if you can name the movie that line's from, I'll owe you a coffee--unless there are scads of you, in which case all you'll get is my admiration as a fellow film buff).

Cheers!
Jelly Pinched Wolf   7:43 AM
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18 May 2004
May is National Rant Month!
Okay, not really, but both
kashi and StitchWitch have good rants up. Worth reading.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   11:07 AM
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17 May 2004
What I Get For Being a Horror Fan
I've held out against all the other bloggers who've taken this, but when even
Cap'n Flynn's given it a whirl, I can hold out no more.



Take the Cicada Test!

Jelly Pinched Wolf   11:53 AM
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"Mawidge..."
"Mawidge, the bwessed awwangement, that dweam wiffim a dweam"

Though kashi and I have been legally married for nigh on three years now, we did not marry in the Catholic Church (she being all lapsed-Episcopalian, agnostic-like, and me being a lapsed-Catholic indulging in a bunch of lookit-me-I'm-a-pagan! malarkey). So, on Saturday we rectified that by renewing our vows and having the marriage blessed. It was a short, but lovely little ceremony, and we once again got to say those really terrific lines: "This is my solemn vow." There's just something so solid, and reassuring, and honest in those words. And now, in the eyes of God and the Holy Roman Catholic Church, we are, forever and always, husband and wife.

Just wanted to take a quick moment to thank those of you who were able to make it out for the blessing. We appreciate it so very much!
Jelly Pinched Wolf   9:39 AM
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14 May 2004
Interesting
Had no idea
this movie was coming out, and I find myself torn. Having been a longtime lover of the legends, I feel somewhat obligated to see every film that comes along. Alas, the track record for Arthurian movies is pretty bad. And I've become somewhat jaded about them thanks to the pathetic First Knight, which was one of the most wretched excuses for a movie ever--and I had the misfortune of seeing that particular bit of cinematic refuse in the theatre. In fact, there are few Arthurian films that are any good. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is certainly one of the more notable ones (and, according to a critical source I used in an Arthurian Romance class a few years back, one of the best presentations of the legends ever done). I seem to remember Excalibur being good, but it's been so very long I can't really recall--it may just have been overblown and ponderous.

And so, here comes a new offering. I'm dubious, but I gotta say, the movie poster has a really nice design. Also, I've heard good things about the director, Antoine Fuqua, who did Training Day (his Replacement Killers was far from perfect, but it at least had style). So I'm curious, but we shall have to see if it's worth our time and money.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   1:18 PM
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I Love the Japanese!
Japan Lawmakers Scolded for Reading Comics
Jelly Pinched Wolf   9:02 AM
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13 May 2004
"Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote"
Began reading The Canterbury Tales today. I've always loved the work, but I've never really had the chance to read the whole thing. I'm certain it was required for at least one class that earned me my English Lit degree, but who had time for such things in college? Darn it, there was Doctor Who to watch and Mario Kart to play!

A few years back, though, I made a commitment to myself that I would eventually sit down and read all the good classics I'd merely glossed over in college ("good classics" meaning that never ever would I again touch Madame Bovine). And now I'm finally there, and glad that I made it.

Maybe it's just that I'm a huge fan of archaism in general, but I love the Middle English (actually, I like the Old English more, but I'm way too out of practice with that--still, Beowulf and The Dream of the Rood are on the list). It's amazing how after just a few lines your brain can shift ever-so-slightly to accommodate the rather bizarre vocab and phrasing. Much like Shakespeare--once your brain stops getting in the way, the beauty, meaning, and wit are clear. Ain't language grand?
Jelly Pinched Wolf   1:17 PM
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12 May 2004
New Blog
In case you've not noticed, I've added a new blog to the links section--Basia me, Catholica sum (found--surprise, surprise--over on Holy Whapping). She's big on the poetry and art, which the Wolf can certainly appreciate. Also, she's currently got a parody of Les Mis up--very nice. Methinks it's certainly worth giving her look-see.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   6:51 PM
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08 May 2004
Vampire Hunters 101
Should you happen to want a clear, concise, and wholly satisfying review of Van Helsing, I recommend heading over to my wife's
blog. But if you're in the mood for pretense and longwindedness, well, the Wolf excels at that. So let's get on with it.

I'd been a bit trepidatious about the movie--sure it looked shiny and cheesy and fun, but I'd already been burned recently by the seriously disappointing League of Extraordinary Gentleman and Underworld, so I couldn't let myself expect much. Still, having seen a few critical blurbs yesterday, I was heartened. There were the usual proclamations of "Dreadful!" and almost no lauds, but most ran right in the middle. Which has always been a good sign to me, 'cause if the critics aren't entirely sure what to make of it, it's likely worth seeing. And as it turns out, my expectations were more than exceeded.

This movie is ... oh, wonderful. In so many ways. It does not ever take itself too seriously. The plot is simple, (and pretty darned reasonable for such a film) which makes it far easier to accept some major absurdities. Never does the movie try to really explain anything--and this is so refreshing. It's one of the major qualms I always had with Star Trek: The Next Generation. We already accepted their world, and yet the writers had to add in their pseudo-scientific drivel for every single little gadget or phenomenon that popped up. We know you have nifty futuristic science! Just show us what it does, not how you got it! But then, maybe I'm a different sort of geek.... Anyway, despite a slightly unsatisfying first battle to introduce Van Helsing, the movie takes off at a fast, but not relentless, pace. The action rocks and the special effects are fun, not too excessive (though it'd hardly be the film it is if they weren't at least a little excessive), and actually rather chilling at times. Indeed, the switch between the beautiful and horrid sides of the vampires is a bit disturbing. The human facade of the creatures may be alluring, but the filmmakers rightly make their true demonic natures very frightening.

Helmed by Stephen Sommers (maker of that wonderful bit of cinematic cheese The Mummy), the film plays as part homage, and part horror-fantasy video game. As my wife has also mentioned, there can be no doubt that Van Helsing was inspired by the various classic Universal horror films of the past, as well as both Castlevania and Vampire Hunter D. And while most people will get the Universal side of things, my guess is that few are familiar with the other references--hence the widespread pans of the movie. And maybe that is a flaw, I don't know. Then again, in my opinion, if you haven't seen either of the D movies, and have never played a Castlevania game, well then, what the heck are you waiting for, you poor, deprived people? But hey, that's just me.

Anyway, back on topic, speaking of Castlevania--the score. We rushed right out to get the soundtrack (alas, it's one of the recent crop of short scores, like Pirates of the Caribbean, running only 42 minutes, but still quite worthwhile), for it's got that gothic techno quality that the Castlevania games have always revelled in. And did I mention the Choirs of Doom? Boy, howdy, does it have Choirs of Doom!

I could go on about every little thing, but I won't--you've likely had more than enough already. But to get to the heart of things, I like Sommers' movies. I even liked Deep Rising, which is generally considered a laughable wreck of a movie. But what the man's movies seem to have consistently is heart. There's a sense of whimsy, and an unfailing love of the story he's telling. I get the feeling Sommers filming the story he wants to, the one that'll make him happy, and doesn't much care whether it sells or not. Luckily for him, they seem to be selling quite nicely (though we shall see how this one fares), for Hollywood doesn't care a whit unless it brings in the green. In the past, he gave us a mummy that was at once sympathetic and yet so steeped in evil as to be beyond redemption. Now, he's given us the Dracula we should have (not the freakish, love-stricken Gary Oldman sort). Not sympathetic (he leaves that where it belongs--in Frankenstein's monster, very nobly played by one Shuler Hensley), but demonic. He's an ambitious, have-crazed, immoral immortal. There's no love there, just power, corruption, and insanity. And he even does it with only a moderate amount of scene-chewing (and hey, if you're gonna have Dracula, there's gotta be a section of the budget devoted to the scenery the actor'll have to eat--otherwise, it's just not a proper Vlad). And never once, despite all the absurd premises, despite the rampant SFX, despite all the horrific beasties, do you feel like these people are just going through the motions of making an action film. There's real love there, and it's beautiful to behold.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   11:31 PM
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07 May 2004
Speechifying
I need to get published, and soon.

And not for the reasons you're likely thinking. Certainly, I would not turn away money and fame should they show up on my doorstep, but these have never been the reasons for why I write. Yes, I want to be able to make a living off my works, and shed this wretched day-jobness that's been the norm these last many years, but it's not the point of my desire to write. The story's the thing, always and always. These tales and poems demand to be written (and some of them are downright surly about it). Whether I make money or no, so long as I can write good stories that people enjoy, and mayhap spur on their imaginations in the process, I'll be a happy Wolf.

But now, I've got another reason to get through the last six chapters of editing and get the blasted novel published--and here we come to the point. I need clout. I need to be known well enough that I might get invited to various places (colleges, bookstores, wherever) to read. I am seriously needing to get out there and read poetry and stories to people. I've never been good at public speaking but I've found that reading my stuff in public is different. It's not like giving a presentation, or even reading a paper--I remember being a nervous wreck defending my thesis at UD, especially when one professor decided to be an uber-critic (though it wasn't as bad as the other poor girl defending that day--he was downright merciless to her). Something about reading my poetry and stories, though, just puts me in a different mode. I really love it, and I wish to share it with others.

The problem is that I currently have no outlet for such readings beyond our semi-annual Polidori, and those people are well-used to my offerings by now. Other cities may be different, but Dallas is pretty lame for finding good poetry readings. There used to be a small, nifty coffee shop named Sequoya, but it has, alas, folded. The readings that the various Barnes and Noble locations hold tend to frighten me, and anything else is usually a "poetry slam," which is a thin excuse for unpoetic souls to stand up and proclaim their political views with lots of cursing and clich├ęd language. Fie on it, I say! I want to be scheduled to appear in cities around the country (nay! around the world!) to declaim my works, and have a question and answer session, and chat with people afterward. I want to see peoples' faces scrunch up in consternation as they try to wend their way through my language. I want to be a storyteller--as it was intended. To draw people in, face to face, to share with them the crazy goings-on of my brain, to stir their own brains to working in new ways, to just get out there and do something with these words of mine. But publishing's the door that needs opening. 'Cause unless I'm known, the offers won't be there. And as previously stated, the open mic scene is not the way. And yet, I can be patient. Because the end of the novel gets closer every day. And then it all begins. Boy howdy.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   1:04 PM
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PacManhattan
Linked to from Holy Whapping--
PacManhattan

This is wonderful! And now, I really miss my old Atari 2600. Sigh.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   7:46 AM
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06 May 2004
Mmmmm, Buffalo
Got to go to my first ever paid-for-by-a-vendor lunch today, and chose the Special of the Day, a Buffalo burger. Goodness, but it was tasty. Could've had a thirty dollar steak at someone else's expense, yet I do not regret the choice (also, I've always felt bad about going overboard when someone else is buying, even though they likely make more in a year than I have in the last five). Not sure if these creatures are still nigh extinct, but I can understand why thet would be--they are tasty! Honestly, though, I think the ostrich burgers kashi and I tried a couple months ago were better. Still, can't argue with free buffalo.

Alas, since lunch, all I've wanted to do is sleep....
Jelly Pinched Wolf   4:32 PM
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04 May 2004
Razzinfraggin Virus
I think Dante was limited by the time he was born into. You see, had they had computers back then, he'd have devoted a special circle of Hell to those who would create viruses. Blah!

This annoying
Sasser Worm has hit us hard here at work, making it very difficult do much of anything work-related. I don't want to work, but I need to nonetheless. What's really fun is having the blasted worm restart your computer while downloading the needed updates from Microsoft (not to mention fighting server traffic both on our end and Microsoft's because of the boatloads of other people beset by this affliction). But I may yet get back to work--it appears I am nearly updated.

Fingers are crossed, and I can but laugh.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   11:18 AM
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03 May 2004
Monday, That Wretched Illegitimate Stepchild of the Weekend
Honestly, I'm not even sure what that title means--it just sounded good.

Not that, in retrospect, today's been all that bad. Sure, my stapler tried to impale my chest. And the fax machine was being contumacious. And I got a nasty paper cut. But you see, that's all right. 'Cause this afternoon, I discovered that I am recipient of a lovely little mention on the blog referenced in the below post, Shrine of the Holy Whapping (see
here). Though I'd heard about the site a good bit from Flambeaux over at Fiat Lux!, I am but a recent visitor. Even the most cursory glance, however, shows there's a wealth of goodness to be found here. Heck, just look at the sidebar of recommendations. The Jelly-Pinched One says, "Make this a regular stop."

Rather than tossing out several random posts, I think I'll combine them into one--after all, if we can't be random on a Monday, what good are they? Then again, at least they're not Wednesday. shudder

Right, so, I took the following quiz that me wife linked to over at Synonyms & Sugar. Must say, I'm awfully pleased with the results. I can only wish my own handwriting were this nice.

Lettera da Bolle
Lettera da Bolle- You are very beautiful, but few
people take the time to discover this. Those
who do are well rewarded.


What Calligraphy Hand Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

More posts on the way as I have time. Had some vague ruminations on ideas of Harlan Ellison's I once found appealing which popped back into my head yesterday during Father's homily. If I can wrap my brain around the thesis of this idea, I oughta be able to bring Neil Gaiman into the mix (what with his American Gods being all drawn from Ellison's ideas an' everything), and give paganism the dishing it deserves. Of course, this is all dependent on the cooperation of my blasted contumelious brain....*

*By the way, being addicted to the books and language of Patrick O'Brian is an addiction worth having.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   8:12 PM
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